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SAM Weekly Newsletter – 19th January 2024

It was a cold start last Saturday. Very cold. One member cleaned the ice off the bike, got changed into riding gear and again removed the ice from the windscreen and seat! It didn’t put off the very hardy members from riding out. It warmed up later in the morning and became a pleasant day. Other members, including me, came on four wheels and had a great time catching up on news and sharing views.

You know, it’s that time of year again. The SAM Club Annual Photo Competition is now launched. Entries should be emailed to The closing date for entries is midnight on the 20th March 2024. As usual the winner gets their photo put into a frame of their choice. Previous winners have hung them in living rooms, offices, bedrooms, garages and sheds. All entries will be independently judged.

In other news this week South Yorkshire Police are cracking down on antisocial riders. There is a call, from the MCIA (Motorcycle Industries Association), to review how braking is taught. It is suggested that high-speed braking should be included to enhance the braking skills of motorcyclists, thus reducing accidents. There is a great article on straight-line braking from Mike Abbott at the British Superbike School. There is also a call for ABS to be fitted to 125cc bikes and for further research into braking at high speed.

The US State of California has proposed to the US Environmental Protection Agency ending the sale of new cars and light-duty vehicles by 2035. It will make for an interesting debate in a country wedded to the internal combustion engine. Far from the motorcycle industry slowing down, motorcycle development continues to grow. Honda is updating the Fireblade for 2024. Despite a slight drop in sales in 2023, motorcycle development is alive and well. Kevin Williams tackles the subject with analytical precision. He points out that the British motorcycle industry was wiped out in just 10 years when the Japanese decided to take over bike development. Subsequently stealing and retaining the market.

Kaneda has developed a custom bike that, unusually, is going into production. So you have a bespoke, custom, electric bike for around €24,000. It’s a mish-mash of parts and styles, but the illuminated wheels look really cool.

All the motorcycling representative organisations have agreed to coordinate their efforts to ensure that the additional £8.3bn, announced by the UK government last November, is used effectively by Local Councils to tackle road repairs. Representative motorcycling bodies, such as the IAM, NMC and MCIA, will also keep the vehicle damage, caused by poorly maintained highways, in the public mind. The IAM gives some very practical driving advice on how to minimise the destructive power of potholes. There is also advice on driving in winter. In addition, you can read about how to cope with driving/riding with a disability.

The petition to remove VAT from air vests has just 11,034 signatures. It will take considerable effort to reach 100,000 signatures before it is closed on the 27th March 2024.

The PRIME (Perceptual Rider Information for Maximising Expertise) project has won a well-deserved motorcycle safety award. The project combines the psychology of perception with design of road markings. Spain is addressing its rising motorcycle casualty rate by insisting that motorcyclists wear safety gear when riding.

Onto adventure riding and touring now. You can read about great places to ride in Norfolk. Freddie Dobbs is off to Slovenia next week, but this week he tests out winter gear on a very cold ride. Reasonably priced jeans and waterproof gloves stand up to the test, so it’s worth a watch. Saffy Sprocket is riding to the top of Norway. A ripped waterproof suit, held together with gaffa tape,  riding freshly gravelled, rain-soaked roads, makes for great viewing. The scenery is spectacular too. Itchy Boots (Noraly Shoemaker) is riding from the coast of Cameroon to the capital Yaounde. Dirt track roads and an impending tropical storm make for the usual heart-in-the-mouth viewing. The windscreen is still broken and the off-side mirror is missing. The singing nuns added to the delights of travelling on a muddy wet track. This was before torrential rain forced her to take shelter. Yaounde presents some challenging city riding too.

The Whiteknights still need help with fundraising and publicity. If you know of anyone who can help, please spread the word.

SYSRP (South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership) has released a list of dates for over-50s to attend WiseUp. Suitable for all adults, subjects include Doorstep Crime, Home Fire Safety, Herbert Protocol and safer driving for older road users. With a Yellow Alert for ice and snow there is advice on safe travel and coping with a breakdown. There is also a reminder to inspect and check tyres.

Kevin Williams has had a very productive week. He tackles the issue of the Yellow Box junctions and how they can confuse bikers and other motorists. Kevin also takes a look at why riders should protect themselves from wind chill. There is a great explanation of why it happens, what are the consequences and how to avoid it. Most riders ‘live for the moment’ and jealously guard their freedom to ride. Kevin suggests some interesting ways to use your off-the-bike time more effectively.

Finally, the history slot. You can take a quiz about bikes from the 1950s. The kind my Dad and Uncles used to ride. I got most of them right, but how will you do? Lastly, it’s probably been done many times, but this custom BMX looks lovely with a new engine. You’ll have to look out for one in the next visit to a skateboard park. Happy reading.

PS: Many thanks to the passing van driver who gave us donuts. They were delicious!!

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